There it was: The head of the CDC frankly stating that the science shows schools can safely reopen, and that the reopening of the schools does not depend on vaccinating teachers. Given the current debate, in which teachers unions, the longtime allies and benefactors of Democratic politicians from Joe Biden on down, are demanding that schools remain closed and that teachers be vaccinated before any reopening can occur, Walensky’s statement was big news. Would Democratic officeholders listen to the science and break with the unions?

It was such big news that the White House immediately ran away from it. At Thursday’s briefing, a reporter asked press secretary Psaki, “Yesterday the head of the CDC, as you know, said that it was safe to reopen schools without vaccinating teachers. You said that the White House was still waiting to — waiting for the official guidance before making a final determination. Why isn’t what the director of the CDC says — why isn’t that enough?”

Psaki said there was a CDC guidance process going on that hadn’t been completed. And she said that the president wants schools to reopen. And he wants to rely on medical experts in making decisions. And then she came to Dr. Walensky: “So we’re just not — she — the — Dr. Walensky spoke in her personal capacity. Obviously, she’s the head of the CDC, but we’re going to wait for the final guidance come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country.”